There have been some developments in CRT’s enforcement practice along the K&A, according to conversations between boaters and CRT staff. There is now only one Enforcement Officer covering the K&A, Corrine Rotherham, who has been off work recently. Geoff Walters, who died last autumn, has not been replaced. Previously the two enforcers covered Hanham to Widbrook and Widbrook to Reading respectively.
The Data Checkers, Paul Maidment and Matthew Preston, are currently taking boat sightings fortnightly as opposed to weekly which has been the practice until recently. This is in part a cost-cutting measure. They maintain that if a boat is sighted within 1km of its location two weeks previously, it will be deemed to be in the same place even if it has moved, regardless of the lawfulness of this measure.
While boat sightings are still being collected for enforcement purposes, enforcement notices such as CC1s and CC2s are not being served until a longer period of time has elapsed. Initiating and serving enforcement notices is normally done by enforcement officers so this appears to reflect the cut in enforcement officer numbers. However, this means that even if there are fewer enforcement officers on the ground, the consequences of not moving could be more serious in the long run, because your boat might have been recorded as not moving for a longer period before an enforcement notice is served. So make sure that you do travel to a new place if you have stayed continuously in one place for 14 days.
If it is reasonable to stay longer than 14 days in one place, no requirement is set out in Section 17 3 c ii of the British Waterways Act 1995 to inform CRT. However, it is wise to tell CRT – in writing – if you are staying longer.
Just send an email to email@example.com that “I am staying longer than 14 days at _____ because of _____ . I consider that this is reasonable in the circumstances. I estimate that I will be there for _____ days/weeks”. This will avoid the possibility of having to justify past overstays after receiving an enforcement notice or a patrol notice.
The Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring sets requirements that go beyond what is stated in the British Waterways Act 1995. CRT does not have the power to enforce requirements that go beyond what the law permits it to enforce. There is no requirement in the Act for a boat without a home mooring to travel a minimum distance or conform to any particular cruising pattern in order to comply. All that is required is for the boat to be “used ‘bona fide’ for navigation, without remaining continuously in any one place for more than 14 days, or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances”. There is also no requirement in the Act for boaters to inform CRT of reasonable longer stays or to seek permission for them, and yet this is one of the requirements set by CRT in the Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring.
You may also want to make clear to CRT that you have been prevented from travelling because of the floods, emergency navigation closures and over-running maintenance stoppages over the last few months, rather than waiting to see if this becomes an enforcement issue later on.
Enforcement Officer Corrine Rotherham’s postal address is Canal & River Trust, The Locks, Bath Rd, Devizes SN10 1QR. You can contact her by phone on the main CRT number 0303 040 4040; ask to be put through to the Devizes office. We recommend having all discussions with enforcement staff in writing if possible, because both parties then have a record of what is said.
The enforcement staff are managed centrally by CRT Head Office and not by the local waterway managers. Sheila Shaw is the Enforcement Supervisor for the K&A; she also covers other areas. We recommend that any complaints about enforcement are addressed to the Head of Enforcement and Licensing, Denise Yelland; email firstname.lastname@example.org.